Facts About the Netherlands

Facts about The Netherlands for Kids

Here are some interesting Facts about the Netherlands for Kids which were chosen and researched by kids especially for kids.

  • Population: 17 million people live in the Netherlands (2020)
  • Capital: Amsterdam, with 1.2 million inhabitants
  • Name: Kingdom of the Netherlands 
  • Government: Democracy, Parliamentary constitutional monarchy
  • Official Language: Dutch
  • Religion: Christians 43% (Roman Catholics and Protestants), Muslims 5%
  • Currency: 1 Euro = 100 cents, until 2002 Dutch guilder
  • National Day: 27 April (King's Day - the birthday of the Dutch king Willem-Alexander who was born on this day in 1967) 
  • National Symbols: lion (national animal), tulip (national flower) and the national colour is orange
  • National Flag: red, white and blue
  • Anthem: 'Het Wilhelmus' (The William)

Netherlands Map | Netherlands Geography

Facts about the Netherlands: The Netherlands are a small country in Western Europe bordering the Atlantic Ocean's North Sea. 

The Netherlands share land borders with Germany and Belgium. The longer border is shared with Germany. There is also a border shared with France on the Caribbean island of Saint Maarten.

Please note that Netherlands on the European continent is  one country of the four countries that belong to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. The kingdom consists of these four countries: The Netherlands, Aruba, Curacao and Sint Maarten. The latter three are all islands in the Caribbean. There are also three other islands called Bonaire, Saba and Saint Eustacious that are located in the Caribbean Netherlands which are referred to as special municipalities of the Netherlands.

Map of the Netherlands Antilles

Informally people also call the country 'Holland', which, however, is not correct, as the Netherlands includes 12 provinces, and two of these are called Noord-Holland and Zuuid-Holland (North- and South-Holland).

The name 'Netherlands' means 'lowlands' as most of the country is flat land that is located slightly above or at sea level, while about one quarter of the country is even below sea level. 

The landscape is thus dominated by flat land and polders (reclaimed land) and there are only some low hills in the south eastern parts of the country.

Landscape in North Holland

While Amsterdam is the capital city of the Netherlands, although Den Haag (The Hague) is the seat of the Dutch government.

International Court of Justice - Peace Palace in The Hague

Facts about the Netherlands
Geography Superlatives

Here are some more facts about the Netherlands and Netherlands geography superlatives:

  • Amsterdam is the most populous city with a population of 1.2 million people. Other big cities in the Netherlands are: Rotterdam, The Hague, Utrecht and Eindhoven. 
  • About half the country is located only about 1m above sea level, all other areas are lower and one quarter of the land is below sea level!
  • The Netherlands is one of the Benelux countries which include: Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg.
  • The highest point in the Netherlands is located in the southeast of the country and is called Vaalserberg at the Three-Country Point in Boven. This point is located at the border to Belgium and Germany and is 322 metres/ 1,056 ft high.
Netherlands highest point in BovenHighest point in the Netherlands
  • The longest river in the Netherlands is the Rhine. The Rhine river runs through the country over 1,230 km/ 764 miles.
  • The Lake Ijssel, also called IJsselmeer, is the largest lake in the Netherlands and is an inland bay from the Waddensea of the North Sea but was closed off by an man-made dyke.

The continental Netherlands are roughly twice the size as the state of New Jersey in the USA - or about the same size as Switzerland. 

 Facts about the Netherlands
Landmarks in the Netherlands

Houses in Amsterdam

Amsterdam, the capital city, is known for its many scenic grachten, which are canals. Amsterdam has more than 100 km/ 70 miles of grachten and about 90 islands. The grachten are usually not deeper than two to three meters! And there are over 1,500 bridges throughout the city.

Amsterdam Gracht - image by Harry Beugelink / Shutterstock.comAmsterdam Gracht - image by Harry Beugelink

The Rijksmuseum, the national museum, is a top tip to visit and learn about the country's history and arts. Famous works from the Dutch Golden Age are displayed there. This means paintings from the 17th century, from famous Dutch artists such as Rembrandt, Johannes Vermeer and Frans Post or the typical blue pottery from Delft or tiny doll houses are exhibited there.

Rotterdam's Erasmus Bridge

Rotterdam is an important port city. The port of Rotterdam is the largest port in Europe. The city was also the main port in the 17th century from where Dutch explorers and emigrants started their journeys. The Maritime Museum is thus a must-visit when in town. Sadly most of the historic buildings were destroyed during World War II, but today the city is known as 'Innovation City' due to its modern architecture. Famous landmarks include Erasmus Bridge over the Maas river or the modern kubuswoningen (cube houses). 

Rotterdam's innovative cube houses are tilted at an 45 degree angleCube houses are tilted at an 45 degree angle

Utrecht is located on the banks of the Rhine river. This city is home to the largest university in the Netherlands. The picturesque city centre houses still many buildings from the Middle Ages. The Dom Tower of the Utrecht is the tallest belfry in the Netherlands with 122.5 m/ 368 ft. 

Utrecht Netherlands dome tower is the tallest belfry in the Netherlands.Dome tower in Utrecht

Alkmaar and Gouda are lovely Dutch cities. Their cheese markets are great to visit. There you will be amazed by all the huge wheels of cheese that are carried to the market. In Alkmaar this market happens every Friday and in Gouda every Thursday in summer. The first historic cheese market was held in Gouda in 1395.

Alkmaar Cheese Market

Flower bulb region or Bollenstreek: Vast flowerfields can be admired in North Holland. The Netherlands are famous for huge tulip fields and picturesque historic Dutch windmills. Tulip blooming season is from mid to end April. Over 1.7 billion tulips are expected to bloom in spring all over the country! The annual flower parade with huge flower floats runs from Noordwijk to Haarlem; the next one is expected to take place on 17 April 2021.

Facts about the Netherlands
Famous Dutch People

The Netherlands have a royal family. King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima have three daughters. 

Netherlands Royal Family - Den Haag, 19 July 2019. Image: © RVD / Wesley de WitThe Royal Family in The Hague 2019

The Dutch national holiday is King's Day which is celebrated every year on 27 April.

Most people in the Netherlands live in a region called Randstad. This region includes the four cities Amsterdam Rotterdam, The Hague and Utrecht. The north of the Netherlands, mainly Fryslan is more rural and less populated than the other regions.

Dutch people enjoy the outdoors and many are active players of soccer, field hockey or korfbal which is similar to netball and basketball. Cycling, running and swimming are also popular pastimes. In winter people also enjoy ice skating on the frozen canals.

Iceskating on the Amsterdam canals - image by Elisabeth Aardema/shutterstock.comIce skating in Amsterdam - image by Elisabeth Aardema

More interesting Facts about the Netherlands and Dutch people:

"It is customary to eat everything on your plate. If you don’t, it makes it look like you don’t like your food. Dutch people are also quite direct."

"Before the 13th century, the Netherlands largely existed as mud flats, salt-marsh, floodbanks, brackish lakes and tidal flats with here and there small hills on which people lived. Because it was so desolate, the Netherlands was not interesting for kings, queens, princes or princesses and there were no large cities.

The people were free to begin reclaiming land by building dykes. Because there were no machines, people had to dig these dykes by hand. This is how land reclamation started. Imagine that it took up to 15 years to dig the dykes and reclaim and desilt the land!

In order to build the dykes, the people had to work together. They had to cooperate with each other and form a consensus to finish the job. At the same time, they were responsible for their own work and for their own land that they reclaimed. This fostered a high degree of personal autonomy." (by Anna van der Schaft)

Dutch Language

The Dutch language is a Germanic language and became a language distinct of German around 800 AD.

Here are some useful phrases when you visit the Netherlands or want to impress a Dutch person:

  • Hello = Hallo (Ha-lo)
  • Goodbye = Dag (Da-ge)
  • Please = Alsjeblieft (Als-ye-blieft)
  • Thank you = Dank je wel (Dank-ye-vel)
  • Yes = Ja (Ya) No = Nee (Nay)

(by Anna van der Schaft)

Facts about the Netherlands
The Netherlands Economy

The Netherlands constitute the sixth largest economy in Europe and the country is part of the Euro zone.

The natural resources of the Netherlands include natural gas, petroleum, limestone and peat as well as sand and salt. Dairy products, meats and vegetables are among the main agricultural products. 

NL Agri-Food exports - Image: Ministry of Agriculture, Nature and Food Quality

The Netherland's main trading partners are Germany,  Belgium, France and the UK as well as China and the USA.

The main export products of the Netherlands are machinery, chemicals, fuels and foodstuff. Did you know that the Netherlands are also the world's biggest exporter of flower bouquets?

Tulip flower bouquetsTulip flower bouquets

Netherlands Facts | Dutch Food

The Dutch cuisine is known for fresh and regional food, fish and seafood and cheeses.

Typical Dutch dishes include:

  • Bitterballen: These small round fried meatballs are a popular snack. The meatballs are much lighter than regular meatballs as they have a velvety smooth meat filling under the fried crust.
Typical 'bitterballen' or croquettes
  • Pea soup: thick deep green pea stew is usually made from split peas.
  • Stamppot: Potato mash mixed with shredded greens such as kale, spinach or cabbage. This mash is usually served with smoked sausages (rook worst
  • Poffertjes: Dutch pancakes are thick and small round mounds. They are made with a yeast batter and usually served simply dusted with icing sugar or with syrup
Dutch Stroopwafels - wafers with caramel and syrupStroopwafels - Sweet syrup wafer cookies
  • Stroopwafel: Two layers of very thin round wafer cookies that are filled with caramel syrup. The name means 'syrup waffle' and this is a very tasty sweet treat.
  • Pepernooten: These small honey and anise cookies or 'peppernuts' are typical biscuits eaten on Sinterklaas (Santa Clause) celebrations on 5 December. They are similar to gingerbread cookies but have a distinct licorice flavour.
Pepernooten - popular cookies at SinterklaasPepernooten - popular at Sinterklaas

Many Thanks go especially to Anna van der Schaft from St Joseph's Institution International School in Singapore who supplied some of the interesting and unique facts we mention here on this page!

Please bookmark this page and spread the word. We will add more information in the near future.

Related Pages

Picture Credits on Facts about the Netherlands: All Pictures, own and if not otherwise mentioned from sxc.hu and shutterstock.com

We hope you enjoyed reading our Facts about the Netherlands.

Facts about the Netherlands | Resources

  • Netherlands Tourism. "Netherlands vs Holland" Holland.com. Last accessed 3 December 2020
  • Central Intelligence Agency. "Netherlands." CIA WorldFactBook. Last updated 24 November 2020. Last accessed 3 December 2020
  • Netherlands Tourism. "The IJsselmeer" Holland.comLast accessed 3 December 2020
  • Royal House of the Netherlands. "Photos." RoyalHouse.nl. Last accessed 3 December 2020

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